Noble Panacea Skincare

We'd like to think we cornered the market on the whole "breakthrough awards" thing, but there's one formidable peer we'll allow: the Nobel Prize. The honor, which has been given since 1896, recognizes groundbreaking achievements with the potential to confer "the greatest benefit on mankind."

Sir Fraser Stoddart was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in 2016, for "the design and synthesis of molecular machines" — a body of work that includes his discovery of Organic Molecular Vessels (OMVs). They offer a high-tech way to deliver ingredients in skin care and, perhaps someday, in pharmaceuticals. These OMVs (they look like octagonal cages) protectively encase potent ingredients so they can be released over time — and in the right sequence — to your skin. It's useful for actives, like vitamin C, that start to degrade immediately when mixed with other ingredients, exposed to air, or applied to the skin. They also help keep a whole host of ingredients, like the firming bakuchiol and smoothing glycolic acid found in Noble Panacea's The Brilliant Prime Radiance Serum (at left), at their most potent until the protective OMV shell starts to dissolve as it meets the water on your skin.

The Brilliant Prime Radiance Serum

"While I've seen other products with timed release, this is an improvement on the technology," says Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "It allows for more controlled release. It is a smart release, rather than just a timed release. The delivery system is unique, creative, and very thoughtful."

The proof is in the data: "It's a multilayered method that allows continual and controlled dosage," says Stoddart. "In our lab tests, this ensures up to 35 percent more improved penetration than traditional skin care can offer." It's a lofty claim, but it is indeed backed by the company's clinicals, says Day. In addition to being impressed by the data, cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson gives the line a nod for its "luxurious textures."

Each product comes in pre-dosed packets, so you don't use too much in one go—and that is a very good thing because the price for all this cutting-edge, award-winning technology is steep. The Brilliant Vibrant Eye Infusion costs $149 for a month's supply, the Absolute Restoring Eye Cream is $239 for 30 doses, and the Absolute Rejuvenation Night Balm is a whopping $384 for the same amount. That's $12.80 per use.

However, I'll say this: After an all-nighter left this writer's skin dry and papery-looking, just one application of The Absolute Active Replenishing Moisturizer brought it back to life (plump, bright, shockingly soft). And one night's sleep with the Absolute Rejuvenation Night Balm made another tester's skin look like she'd just had a facial. Not the worst use of $12.80 (but also not a monetarily realistic nightly habit for most of us).